Sex crimes app protects users from predators, pinpoints danger zones

Sex crimes app protects users from predators, pinpoints danger zones
Police in Japan have developed a new app that will warn users if they’re about to enter an area where sex crimes have been committed over the previous 12 months.

Free to download, the ‘Mimamotchi’ app has been designed to protect women and children from sexual predators roaming the streets of Fukuoka city.

Using GPS, Mimamotchi pinpoints a user's location on a map and then highlights in red areas where a variety of sex crimes have been committed over the previous 12 months, allowing the user to avoid potentially dangerous hotspots. Users can set a radius of ranging from 5 km (3.1 miles) to 100 meters (328 feet).

As well as having a built-in alarm, the app, which can be downloaded for both Apple and Android devices, also includes a feature that allows someone being harassed to display a message such as “I am being groped” on the screen, which creators say could be useful in cases where a victim travelling on public transport is unable to raise their voice, according to The Asahi Shimbun.

Developers sought advice from high school and university students when creating the app, which is where the idea of map visualizations came from.

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“Many people tend to look on sex crimes as somebody else’s problem, but we want them to learn about records of crimes so they will be more aware of crime prevention,”said app developer Masako Tsuru.